Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 104, Issue 3, pp 1001–1012 | Cite as

Advances in acrylamide bioproduction catalyzed with Rhodococcus cells harboring nitrile hydratase

  • Song Jiao
  • Fulong Li
  • Huimin YuEmail author
  • Zhongyao Shen


Acrylamide is an important bulk chemical used for producing polyacrylamide, which is widely applied in diverse fields, such as enhanced oil recovery and water treatment. Acrylamide production with a superior biocatalyst, free-resting Rhodococcus cells containing nitrile hydratase (NHase), has been proven to be simple but effective, thereby becoming the main method adopted in industry to date. Under the harsh industrial conditions, however, NHase-containing Rhodococcus cells in a natural state are prone to deactivation. Thus, multiple genetic strategies able to evolve recombinant Rhodococcus biocatalysts at either the enzyme or cell level have been reported. While most of the methods on enzyme engineering concentrate on NHase stability enhancement by strengthening the flexible sites, Rhodococcus cell engineering with various methods can enhance both the NHase activity and stability as well. Developing some new types of reactors, especially the microreactor, is also an effective way to improve the hydration process efficiency. Compared with the conventional stirred tank reactor, the membrane dispersion microreactor can enhance the heat and mass transfer in the hydration process with Rhodococcus cells as biocatalysts, thereby significantly improving the productivity of the acrylamide bioproduction process.


Nitrile hydratase Rhodococcus cells Enzyme engineering Cell engineering Membrane dispersion microreactor 


Funding information

This work was supported by the National Key Research and Development Program (2018YFA0902200; 2018YFA0901700) and the National Natural Science Foundation (No. 21776157 and No. 21476126) of China.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Song Jiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Fulong Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Huimin Yu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Zhongyao Shen
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Chemical EngineeringTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Industrial BiocatalysisTsinghua University, the Ministry of EducationBeijingChina
  3. 3.Center for Synthetic and Systems BiologyTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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